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According to the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), the Sidamo region is divided into five geographical areas: namely Sidamo A, B, C, D & E. These areas are neither divided based on the quality of coffee nor politically defined borders, rather they define a mere geographical indication. This broad definition for Sidamo coffees has made the region the largest coffee producer in Ethiopia. For instance, Nensebo woreda from Oromia region neighbors the Sidamo region in the west, and Konta woreda from Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ region neighbors the Sidamo region in the east. Even though both these regions are not located in the Sidamo region, the coffee that is grown in these regions is labelled as Sidamo coffee.

The people, culture and tradition of the Sidamo region

Established on June 18, 2020, the Sidamo region is the newest regional state in Ethiopia. Sidama is bordered to the south by the Oromia Region (except for a short stretch in the middle where it shares a border with Gedeo zone), on the west by the Bilate River, which separates it from Wolayita zone, and on the north and east by the Oromia Region.

The Sidamo region has a population of 3.2 million who speak a Cushitic language Sidamigna – also known as Sidaamu Afoo. The capital city, Hawassa, has a population of over 300,000, and it is one of the biggest cities in Ethiopia.

The most celebrated holiday in Sidama is Fichchee – Sidama’s New Year. The Fichchee holiday is based on the lunar system – the date is decided by observing the movement of the stars in the sky. This holiday is therefore unique because it does not have a fixed date. Another interesting fact about the Sidama culture is that there are 13 months in a year, and each month is divided equally into 28 days, while the 13th month has 29 days. This is because the Sidama week has only four days and hence each month has seven weeks instead of the conventional four weeks. The names of the four days in the Sidama week are called Dikko, Deela, Qawadoo and Qawalanka, to be followed by Dikko, completing the cycle of a four-day week.

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Sidamo coffee and its unique flavor profile

The Sidamo coffee, usually grown between 1500 to 2100 meters above sea level, is a medium sized bean which is greenish grayish in color. While there is no doubt that the Sidamo coffee is exceptionally extraordinary, it cannot be confined to one single flavor because of the Sidamo flavor diversity. However, while cupping, the Sidamo washed coffee is known for its balanced taste, fine acidity, good body, and good flavor. Cuppers usually call it a sweet coffee. The Sidamo coffee is always blended for gourmet or specialty coffee.

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